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Troubleshooting Guide for Guitar Pedals

If you are experiencing trouble with your guitar pedal, follow along with this guide to troubleshoot your issue before declaring it defective.

Do you have your guitar plugged into the pedal?

  • Most pedals have protection circuitry that will keep them from turning on to save battery life unless the guitar is plugged in.

Did you test your pedal in isolation?

  • It’s best to test the pedal alone with your guitar and amplifier instead of in a chain of pedals. This way, you can eliminate any other potential issues.
  • Once you verify that your pedal is fine, you can slowly add in any other pedals you have to see if they cause the problem.

Is the power supply correct?

  • Make sure the voltage is correct. Your pedal will tell you whether it needs a DC or an AC power supply and how many volts it requires.
  • Make sure the polarity is correct (on DC power supplies). You can either have a positive (+) center or a negative (-) center. The pedal will specify which you should use, and the power supply will state it’s polarity. (The dot specifies the center).
  • Make sure your power supply has a sufficient amount of current (mA). As long as the current of the power supply is equal to or greater than the amount the pedal calls for, you’ll be fine. This information is also stated on the power supply and the pedal.Screen shot 2013-09-09 at 12.33.12 PMScreen shot 2013-09-09 at 12.32.16 PM

Are you using batteries?

  • Make sure your battery is fresh.
  • Try a different brand.

Are your cables functioning properly?

  • It’s best to test each cable separately to ensure proper fuctionality.

Are you using the correct type of cable?

  • Most pedals use 1/4-inch TS cables (tip-sleeve). If you try to use a TRS cable (tip-ring-sleeve), your pedal may not be compatible and will not pass audio.TipsTricks02

Do any lights turn on?

  • Some pedals are designed to only turn on lights when signal is present.

Does the pedal pass signal when bypassed?

  • If it does, check your signal routing and your cables.

Are you getting noise/feedback?

  • Remember that many pedals have multiple gain stages. When you plug your pedal in before you amp, you are adding more gain to your amplifier. Some noise is to be expected when you do this. To reduce noise or feedback, try turning down the gain in one or more places.
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